What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest - RightsInfo

What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest

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TOP 50
50 Cases
2012
Europe

Police can ‘kettle’ demonstrators to keep the peace

Related European Convention Articles

Four people were kettled (forcefully contained) in a crowd by riot police during a demonstration in Central London. The police's actions were lawful, as their purpose was to prevent an imminent breach of the peace.

TOP 50
50 Cases
2006
UK

Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

Related European Convention Articles

The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

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    Speech & Protest
    2011
    UK

    Occupy protestors didn’t have the right to occupy private property

    Related European Convention Articles

    A group of Occupy activists occupied a building owned by a bank. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression and assembly did not permit them to take over private property. The protestors were subsequently evicted from the premises.

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    TOP 50
    50 Cases
    1976
    Europe

    Offensive ideas need to be protected too

    Related European Convention Articles

    Mr Handyside was prosecuted for publishing "The Little Red Book", which encouraged children to rebel against social norms. The European Court supported the prosecution as protecting public morals but famously emphasised that free speech also applied to offensive ideas.

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      Speech & Protest
      2000
      UK

      People have a right to access information from public bodies

      Related European Convention Articles

      The Freedom of Information Act obliges public authorities to publish certain information about their activities. It also permits people to request information from public authorities. However, a public authority may legally refuse to release information for a variety of reasons.

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      Speech & Protest
      2002
      UK

      Freedom of expression can be restricted for the sake of national security

      Related European Convention Articles

      A former intelligence officer was prosecuted for leaking secret documents to the press. He argued that the disclosure was in the public interest. However, the court decided that freedom of expression can be restricted on the grounds of national security.

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      Speech & Protest
      2005
      Europe

      Inciting hatred isn’t part of freedom of speech

      Related European Convention Articles

      A British National Party member displayed a poster outside his house containing an inflammatory statement about Islam. He was convicted of a criminal offence. Mr Noorwood argued this breached his free expression rights - his case failed.

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        TOP 50
        50 Cases
        1996
        Europe

        Journalists’ sources must be protected

        Related European Convention Articles

        A journalist was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to reveal a whistle-blowing source for a story. It was unfair to punish journalists for doing their job to protect commercial interests. After the judgment, the law was changed to better protect responsible investigative journalism.

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          Speech & Protest
          2003
          Europe

          Campaigners are not necessarily entitled to meet on private property

          Related European Convention Articles

          Campaigners were barred from distributing leaflets in a private shopping centre. This did not breach their right to freedom of expression. The campaigners did not have an automatic right to enter private property, nor were their ability to express speech destroyed.

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            TOP 50
            Speech & Protest
            2006
            UK

            Police shouldn’t have stopped war protest bus

            Related European Convention Articles

            The police stopped coach passengers from reaching the site of an anti-Iraq War demonstration. The protesters' right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly was violated. Police shouldn't have assumed they would be violent.

            Related links

            Speech & Protest
            2012
            Europe

            Offensive anti-gay speech in schools isn’t acceptable

            Related European Convention Articles

            Four students were convicted for distributing homophobic leaflets in a secondary school. The court decided that their right to freedom of expression was not violated.

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            Speech & Protest
            2015
            Europe

            Journalists may secretly film and record other people, if it’s in best interest of the public

            Related European Convention Articles

            Four journalists were convicted for secretly recording and broadcasting an interview with an insurance broker. The conviction violated their right to freedom of expression. There was an overriding public interest in showing the interview, which exposed misleading advice given by insurance companies.

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              TOP 50
              Speech & Protest
              1996
              Europe

              Journalists can refuse to reveal their confidential sources

              Related European Convention Articles

              A company wanted to force a journalist to reveal a confidential source. The journalist refused and was fined. The journalist won the case, because forcing disclosure would restrict freedom of expression

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                TOP 50
                Speech & Protest
                1979
                Europe

                Newspapers have freedom to report legal cases if in the public interest

                Related European Convention Articles

                During a legal case about the Thalidomide disaster, the High Court stopped a newspaper from publishing articles in support of the victims. This violated their right to freedom of expression. The significant public interest in the matter outweighed the need to uphold an injunction.

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                  Speech & Protest
                  1996
                  Europe

                  Gratuitously offensive imagery is not protected by free speech

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A film which involved erotic scenes between Jesus Christ and a nun was banned for breaking the law on blasphemy. This was a lawful restriction. The right to freedom of expression did not apply to gratuitously offensive material concerning religious figures.

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                    Speech & Protest
                    1998
                    Europe

                    Restrictions on election campaigning must be proportionate

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    An anti-abortion campaigner distributed 25,000 campaign leaflets shortly before the 1992 election. She was prosecuted for breaching the spending cap on campaign publications. The court decided that the spending cap was so disproportionate that it violated her right to freedom of expression.

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                      Speech & Protest
                      2009
                      UK

                      The state can’t interfere with peaceful protest with no good reason

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      An activist group, which had peacefully protested near a nuclear weapons site for more than 20 years, was banned from camping near the site. This violated their right to freedom of expression.

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                      Speech & Protest
                      2014
                      UK

                      During court proceedings, a person’s identity can be made anonymous

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      The BBC challenged a court's decision to withhold the identity of a convicted sex offender during deportation proceedings. The court said that the BBC's right to freedom of expression was outweighed by its duty to protect the convict from violent attack.

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                        Speech & Protest
                        2014
                        UK

                        Controversial speakers may be denied entry into the UK

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        A dissident Iranian politician appealed the Home Secretary's decision to refuse her entry into the UK. The Home Secretary won the case. Granting entry to the politician would have posed a threat to diplomatic relations between the UK and Iran.

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                          Speech & Protest
                          2009
                          Europe

                          Journalists can refuse to reveal their confidential sources

                          Related European Convention Articles

                          The FT was ordered to disclose documents identifying confidential journalistic sources to a brewing company. The sources had leaked information about a takeover bid. The FT refused to release the documents, and won their case – their right to freedom of expression was breached.

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                            TOP 50
                            50 Cases
                            1999
                            UK

                            Journalists must be able to interview prisoners

                            Related European Convention Articles

                            A blanket ban on journalists publishing interviews with prisoners was a violation of fundamental rights. Journalists must be able to expose miscarriages of justice.

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                            Speech & Protest
                            1994
                            Europe

                            Journalists cannot be punished for disseminating statements made by others

                            Related European Convention Articles

                            A journalist was fined for including racist statements made by youths he interviewed for a documentary. The court decided that the journalist's conviction violated his right to freedom of expression.

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                              Speech & Protest
                              2005
                              Europe

                              Excessive McDonalds libel damages breached free speech rights

                              Related European Convention Articles

                              Members of a campaign group were sued for libel by McDonald's. The group had to pay excessive damages to McDonald's. They successfully challenged the decision - their right to freedom of expression was violated.

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                              What Human Rights do for Speech & Protest
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